Madeleine McCann: former suspect Robert Murat to be questioned

Madeleine McCann

Ex-pat Robert Murat is said to be one of eleven 'persons of interest' to be interviewed by Madeleine McCann police

LAST UPDATED AT 12:55 ON Wed 19 Nov 2014

Robert Murat, the first formal suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, is to be questioned again by police in relation to the case.

He was named by BBC News and Portuguese newspapers today as one of eleven people being spoken to as "persons of interest". His wife, Michaela Walczuck, is also understood to be on the list.

Murat, a British ex-pat and property developer, lived with his mother Jenny in a house close to where Madeleine went missing in Prai da Luz in May 2007. His mother always maintained she had been with him at home on the night of her disappearance.

Murat, who is originally from Norfolk, helped police with translation in the first few days after Madeleine's disappearance and was questioned by officers less than two weeks later. He was made an "arguido", the Portuguese equivalent of a suspect, but has always strongly denied any involvement.

He won substantial libel damages and an apology from several British newspapers in 2008 over nearly 100 "seriously defamatory" news articles.

Portuguese police also named Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, as arguidos, sparking a slew of allegations against the couple, who also claimed substantial libel damages.

At the time, Murat said he had gone "to hell and back without doing anything wrong" and had to wait months for his arguido status to be dropped.

Murat told ITV News this morning that he had only learned that he would face police questioning through today's Portuguese media reports.

Madeleine was three when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment on 3 May 2007.


Madeleine McCann: UK man and woman among new suspects

11 November

A British man and woman are among seven people to be questioned over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, ITV News reports. Madeleine vanished at the age of three from the Praia da Luz resort in Portugal in 2007.

The seven will be questioned by officers in Faro on the Algarve between 24 and 28 November. As well as the British woman, an eastern or central European woman will be interviewed.

Five men, at least three of them Portuguese, will also be asked to say where they were on the night Madeleine vanished. It is thought that three of the people being questioned will be given "arguido" status - formal suspects under Portuguese law. The term is more inclusive than the British term “suspect”.

Another four people will be spoken to as witnesses.

None of the people being questioned were known to Kate and Gerry McCann - though some have spoken to the police before. It is believed some may have been staff at the resort’s Ocean Club around the time Madeleine was last seen.

ITV says the questioning follows extensive reviews of mobile phone footage and is the latest stage in the British investigation into the disappearance.


Madeleine McCann: Parents return to Portugal for libel trial

08 July

Kate and Gerry McCann returned to Portugal today for the latest hearing in their long-running libel case against Goncalo Amaral, the former police chief who oversaw the investigation into their daughter's disappearance in 2007.

The couple are suing Amaral for claims he made in his 2008 book, The Truth of the Lie, which included allegations that the McCanns hid Madeleine's body and faked her abduction following an accident at their Praia da Luz apartment.

Last month the couple flew to Lisbon to give personal statements on the impact of Amaral's accusations, but were unable to testify when the former police chief fired his legal team on the morning they were due to appear in court. His actions prompted a fourth adjournment in the case, which has now been running for five years,

The McCanns described the fiasco as a "blatant and cynical attempt" to delay the trial. Despite their anger, the McCanns are more "hopeful" this time round, the Independent says.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Gerry McCann said: "First of all we hope we get heard, that's the first thing. And also justice for Madeleine obviously."

The McCanns are expected to receive a settlement of about £1 million if their libel action against Amaral proves successful. A judgment is expected later this year.


More on Madeleine McCann 

Kate and Gerry 'encouraged by progress'Praia da Luz mayor blasts timing of digPolice to investigate five new assaultsWhy did paedophile lead take so long?Police in hunt for Algarve sex attacker · 

Disqus - noscript

wouldn't all this be best left unsaid whilst investigations continue in case whoever may have this poor little girl feels under threat.

Precisely my thoughts, Squiz. I sincerely hope that if she is still alive no harm will come to her as a result of these revelations.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.